Good morning and TGIF. It's been a long week but looking forward to some major league friend time this weekend. 'Tis the season.
I was thinking about how much I love Christmas and have written here about my Christmas envy, considering I'm Jewish. My sister and I have always joked about it- she is partial to a more Irish Catholic kind of Christmas (think Kennedys) and I've always been partial to a more over the top Italian/Dyker Heights/Feast of the Fishes mystique. But I digress. Because Jews can't do Christmas. Even if we try.
Case in point. This year i bought a fairly legit Christmas tree. Not huge, but not tabletop either. David and I put some music on and dressed the tree with some ornaments purchased locally- pretty gold star things and some small gold balls, and of course lights. I was going for more tasteful and restrained than my Italian Christmas obsession, but alas- the tree is cute, but doesn't quite cut it when it comes to Christmas miracles. Here's a picture of it. I just don't know how to make it great. I have no real frame of reference. I didn't grow up with Christmas and I'm a little long in the tooth now to learn.
My sister sent me this picture the other night. That's me. And my very 70s coiffed dad. And yes, that's some Christmas decor in the background. Apparently there were stockings. Since I was too young to remember this now, I rely on my sister's recall to regale me with tales of Christmas's (how do you pluralize this?I can't even do that) past.
According to her, this was the first and only time we did Christmas at my house. My dad put up some festive wrapping paper on the wall in our den, think wallpaper vibes. Fairly clever if you ask me, although obviously not tasteful. My sister told me my dad STAPLED our gifts to the wall. Stapled? Who does that? My dad. That's who. He also used to nail picture frames to the wall. I guess he really wanted things to not fall down. Also the obvious omission was a tree. Thus the stapled to the wall gifts, including that sexy Spirograph you see. Maybe the tree was too goyish. Probably. As I looked at this picture, my sister reminded me how very happy I was. I must admit, I do look fairly chuffed. She then told me she unwrapped the Spirograph and put it on my head. Also what's with the undershirt, pops? Ah, the holidays.
Yesterday I was at my local nail salon, fixing a botched pedicure. My nail ladies are Jews from Uzbekistan. My neighborhood is traditionally Italian American and requires more than a bit of Christmas cheer, so the woman who runs the place had her husband, who sports a huge star of David around his neck, putting up Christmas decor. I watched as his befuddlement turned to frustration. How was he supposed to know what to do with all this tinsel, lights, and green and red objets? He gave up on the decor, after some cursing in Russian and sweating, and just sort of spread the accessories through the salon, in sort of weird bas reliefs vs. hanging them properly. It was sad to say the very least. As sad as my botched pedicure.
Now of course there are BIG exceptions to my thesis. I have a friend who lives in a super posh part of Boston, in a beautiful storybook home. Her Christmas tree appears to come out of a Currier and Ives painting. I think this is because she's surrounded by old monied Wasps. Perhaps they showed her how. Or she hired someone to decorate it, though not likely. PS her last name is Cohen. I'm not entirely sure how she pulled it off but yamulkes off to her.
Also my aunt does a gorgeous tree, though her husband, who converted to Judaism, grew up with Christmas so they have a more than slight aptitude and advantage to us 100% Ashkenazi types. This was one of her trees a few years back, with my sister's very non Jewish dog, Rosie sitting by it. Nice, right?
And though we pretend to love that crappy Adam Sandler Hannukah song and enjoy our stinky, fried latkes, no dreidl could substitute for a proper tree. A spinning top vs. a Douglas fir? Nope. Not even close. And with Christmas becoming more and more of a secular holiday, maybe we can all become experts on decor. Is there a master class I can take? I prefer to be better prepared next year. After all you can take a horse to water, but can you teach a Jew Christmas? The jury is still out. Oh and for those keeping score- guess where I'll be Christmas Day? On a plane to Israel. Oh, the irony.
Cause that's what's up this most wonderful time of the year kind of Friday in Brooklyn. Yours, in yuletide carols and silent nights. Oh, and Happy Hannukah. XO